- TTIP Hastiness would lead to an unfavorable agreement, German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said, criticizing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s approach to reaching an agreement with the US on harmonizing trade and investment regulations.
“It was wrong that, in the euphoria of [President Barack] Obama’s visit to Germany, the Chancellor said that we will be able to conclude negotiations under any circumstances by the end of this year – and that she recently repeated that statement,” Gabriel said in an interview to the German regional RND newspaper group, criticizing Merkel’s stance on negotiations concerning the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US.
Gabriel, who is the leader of Merkel’s German Social Democratic Party (SPD), also stressed that haste would lead to an unfavorable deal adding that he and his party will “never” agree to something they deem “bad.”
- “The SPD will not to be part of a bad deal,” he said. “I will never approve an agreement that retains [the right for the companies to appeal to] nontransparent private commercial courts,” he stated, referring to the issue that the agreement would allow transnational corporations to challenge domestic laws and regulations in special tribunals thus potentially undermining national environmental and labor protections.
- He also stressed that he would not approve any deal that envisages standards deemed lower than those included in the freshly-negotiated EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, which has already been approved by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament.
- According to German media, the vice chancellor cast doubts on whether it was still worth negotiating with the US on the TTIP at all.
- He said that the forthcoming new round of the TTIP negotiations in June will indicate what the US are really aiming for.
- Gabriel has been subjected to a pressure of his own party members, as the left wing of the SPD wants him to break off negotiations on TTIP, German media suggest.
- The Economy Minister already criticized TTIP in late April. At that time, he said that the agreement in its current form could ruin the entire free-trade deal and accused the US of violating the norms of free trade as it does not want to “open its public tenders to European companies.”
- “If the Americans hold fast to this position, we don’t need the free trade treaty. And TTIP will fail,” he warned.